Tunnel of Love

I Got the Fortunes of Heaven in Diamonds and Gold

Song: Ain't Got You
Album: Tunnel of Love
Year: 1987

I never thought I would see a day where Bruce Springsteen would debut a song that clocks in at just over two minutes, but I guess today is that day. Or I guess October 9, 1987 was that day and I missed it because I was a three-month-old baby who didn't yet understand the concept of music. Incredibly rude of me.

The Boss spends this song sadly bragging about all the fancy things and he's got stowed all over his many mansions—just another classic everyman tune. It's like a bizarro-world version of "If I Had a Million Dollars" or the interesting-person version of "Lucky."

Genius.com calls the song it "starkly autobiographical" but I sincerely doubt Bruce is slamming caviar on the reg. Yes, he's a multi-millionaire and has been for most of his life, but I still believe the only way he would eat caviar at home is as a dip for chips while he's watching baseball. We all know what B is really spending his money on: model train sets. (The man loves trains!)

Rating: 8 fancy foreign cars out of 10.

This song makes me feel: proud of Bruce. Even though this is his shortest song ever, he still manages to slip a shoutout to King Farouk in there because he's a goddamn professional who knows that that mentioning a rich Egyptian man is a key ingredient in any hit single.

Fun Bruce fact: CelebrityNetWorth.com lists one of Bruce Springsteen's nicknames as "Bad Scooter." Maybe it means that there's a whole concept album I haven't listened to yet where he performs under that name as an alter ego, à la Chris Gaines! ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

 

Tonight You Step Away From Me

Song: Walk Like a Man
Album: Tunnel of Love
Year: 1987

People (well, baby boomers) love sharing memories in the Youtube comments of Springsteen songs. I think it's because they have kids who won't let them sign up for Facebook. Usually they're reminiscing about fooling around at Makeout Point (in a car, as the Good Bruce intended), but in the "Walk Like a Man" chat zone, everybody is just hanging out and being sad about their dead parents. So, yeah, not exactly a party jam over here.

Am I even allowed to criticize this? It's about a man mourning his dad and also I have no training in the musical arts (in case that was not abundantly clear in the last 20 posts). I'm trying to have some sympathy, but I just don't know if being sad about losing someone is a good enough excuse for an extended metaphor about "footprints in the sand."

...Oh, god, I feel like a monster for thinking that. Just do what you want Bruce! I'm so sorry for your loss! Talk about how you've "grown from a seed he's sown" as much as you want! If that revolting phrase helps you honour the memory of your late father, then YOU NEVER HAVE TO STOP.

Rating: 4 sad synths out of 10.

This song makes me feel: like Bruce needs a hug.

Fun Bruce fact: Wikipedia lists six songs with the title "Walk Like a Man." Grand Funk Railroad's is probably the best. Maybe I should start a GFR blog next?

 

If You're Rough Enough For Love

Song: Tougher Than the Rest
Album: Tunnel of Love
Year: 1987

You guys, I think Bruce Springsteen is in love!

When a man is feeling some feelings, he pulls out all the stops. For the Boss, that means incorporating synthesizers and tambourines and harmonicas into the same song. Now, that sounds like a terrible combination in principle—like mixing salsa and waffles and movie-theatre popcorn, three great tastes that do not necessarily taste great together, believe you me—but it works just fine because, as I mentioned previously, this is Bruce Springsteen. His trick (you sneak-faced musical genius, you) is to use a faux-down-home twang to distract from the unusual mix of elements, just like you should when you're serving your dinner party guests a casserole of salsa and waffles and movie-theatre popcorn. ("Want me to microwave that for ya, hon?", "You've barely touched your food, y'all!", etc.)

I would categorize this song as a bit of a fantasy, because we all know in real life Bruce would not have to spend three whole minutes to convince some broken woman that she should take a shot with him. If this were more true to reality, the song would be just him going "Well, it's Saturday night..." and her going "I've been practicing my Dancing in the Dark finger-guns in anticipation of this moment ARE WE MARRIED NOW OH GOD I LOVE YOU" and then the rest of the song would just be some sweet harmonica soloing.

But then we'd miss the romance of his pitch to her. And when you have a chance listen to B talk about a dark road and a white line (Bruce. Loves. Roads.), you've gotta take it, even if you're a fictional, unnamed character in a song. That's the oath I personally took when I started this review project, and I don't expect anything less of imaginary love interests.

Rating: 8 sweet-talkin' Romeos out of 10.

This makes me feel: like slow-dancing at a wedding. Any wedding. Are you getting married? Can I come to your wedding? I'll see you at the wedding.

Bruce fun fact: This song has been covered by a bunch of different people, most notably Emmylou Harris. I guess that makes this more of an Emmylou Fun Fact. Life is full of surprises: it's best you learned that now.